Stull, Offense Make Strides In Scrimmage

At this time last year, Bill Stull was just rounding into form to secure the starting quarterback job for the Pitt football team.

He was getting into a comfort zone, developing chemistry with his receivers and linemen, but things have changed for Bill Stull this year.

"Now, it's just 'gimme the play, coach,' We're ready to roll,'' Stull said after a solid performance in the second Pittsburgh training camp scrimmage Saturday. "I think, overall from an offensive standpoint, we didn't turn the ball over. So, that was a good thing. We also moved the ball by throwing it.

"So, that was good for us up front. And the running game went well, which it always should with the talent we have there, but the young guys really stepped up like Chris Burns. He's very elusive, can move and has incredible balance.''

Stull completed 7 of 9 passes for 86 yards and one touchdown, including a 22-yarder to wideout Oderick Turner and 20-yard scoring toss to tight end Dorin Dickerson. Stull has had sore ribs all week, so he wore a red jersey and was off-limits to contact during the scrimmage.

"I think that we're going against the same guys every day, and we know their strengths and weaknesses,'' Stull said. "So, we're each taking our turns having a good day, and today I think we both (offense and defense) did pretty well.

"The key is to not turn the ball over. That's a category that proves wins and losses. And it shows up that the team that turns the ball over is the team that loses. And as quarterbacks, we have to be concerned about that.''

Kevan Smith got the majority of reps with the second team, ahead of Pat Bostick, but Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said that was by design. Smith was 7-for-10 for 49 yards with a 15-yarder to freshman Jonathan Baldwin. Bostick was 3-for-3 for 65 yards with a 47-yard toss that Baldwin pulled in.

Greg Cross was 3-for-5 for 30 yards with a 29-yard gun to Michael Shanahan, while Tino Sunseri was 5-for-12 for 42 with a 19-yard strike to Aundre Wright. Shanahan led with four taches for 38 yards, while Baldwin added three for 61.

"Our offense moved the ball,'' Wannstedt said, "and I thought all of the quarterbacks played well. Billy had a nice day. ... (And) we protected the football. We didn't turn it over, and anytime you can do that you're going to have a chance to be successful.

"Defensively, when they got down there we forced field goals with the first couple groups and kept them out of the end zone. So, it was a good day, and we didn't get anybody hurt. Everybody got a lot of playing time, 80-100 plays total, so we'll look at the tape and make some decisions on personnel.''

Pitt enters the final week in camp with one more scrimmage Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. There's just a 90-minute practice Sunday night, two Monday, one Tuesday and two Wednesday. The annual FanFest is Thursday at 6 p.m. at Heinz Field, and the final camp practice begins 6:15 p.m. Friday.

Wannstedt commented that Derek Kinder and Turner stepped up into the starting wideout spots and performed well Saturday. Cedric McGee (ankle) and T.J. Porter (toes) were held out for minor injuries. The third receiver used in the scrimmage was Baldwin.

"He makes plays every time we throw him the ball,'' Wannstedt said. "So, he got my attention today. (And) all of our backs made some plays, so I like our group of running backs.''

Redshirt freshman Shariff Harris led all ball-carriers with 32 yards on 10 attempts, including a nine-yard scoring run, while LaRod Stephens-Howling added 22 yards on three attempts with a 19-yard burst. LeSean McCoy ran just five times for 21 yards, but had a dazzling 16-yard run. Burns had 20 yards on four carries with a spectacular 11-yard scoring run.

Joining wideouts McGee and Porter on the sideline were tailback Kevin Collier (leg) and tight end John Pelusi (shoulder). Freshman offensive tackle Ryan Turnley has been out and will have surgery next week.

Pitt was ranked 25th in the initial Associated Press writers' poll this season. Wannstedt commented on the voting.

"The recognition is nice, but it doesn't change the focus or hunger this football team has,'' Wannstedt said. "No bowl (game) or championship is won in August. Our players understand that, and they know the next step in making our goals a reality is finishing up training camp strong and then getting ready for Bowling Green.''

Pitt opens with Bowling Green Aug. 30 at noon at Heinz Field.

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